Night Market in Phuket

During the day, when you can feel each ray of the sun beating down on your shoulders and reflecting off the black pavement beneath your sandaled feet, Phuket is just way too hot to do much of anything, lest you go sunbathe by the pool or hang out under and umbrella on the beach. Even that is almost too hot to do.

But at night, when the sun goes down and the temperature along with it, street vendors, hawkers, bars, restaurants, and stores light up. Phuket comes alive at night.

Last year on our New Year’s trip to Phuket, I enjoyed a mean fried chicken from the local night market- one of the best fried chickens I’ve ever had. This year I strolled through the market again….

And not too surprisingly, I saw many of the same vendors as I did last time.

And though was verrrry tempted, because it was close to bedtime, I managed to get out of there empty handed (and empty bellied).

Just Beachy

One thing I will certainly miss about living in Guangzhou is our proximity to Thailand, and beautiful white sand beaches.

Of course, Thailand also has great food, is insanely cheap, and Thai people are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met. In fact, the DiploMan and I love Thailand so much we’ve discussed bidding for a post in Bangkok in the (far) future. You’d come visit then, wouldn’t you??


It’s Dragon Boat Festival Holiday here in China, and we’re in Phuket, Thailand through Monday. I didn’t think it could get much hotter, but woooooeeeee is Thailand a beast!! I got a bit of heat stroke from being out in the sun too long yesterday. Good thing there are beaches and lots of coconut drinks and fruit stands everywhere.

The next few weeks are going to be a bit crazy. We’re racing in for Team USA in Guangzhou’s Dragon Boat races next week, have a few parties and dinners to attend and plan, and have a lot of paperwork to fill and stuff to get done before we leave post in three-and-a-half weeks. Oh yeah, and we have to pack up all our stuff, too. That’s not stressful or anything.

For this weekend, though, I’m enjoying this last trip out of Guangzhou. Coincidentally, our first trip out of Guangzhou was New Years’ Eve, to Phuket, in December 2010. Back to the same place we started.

It’s a nice way to round out our travels.


Have you ever experienced the feeling where you just know you’ll like something, even before you try it? Like, you know it so positively that you’d be willing to bet anything on it?

That was how I felt about za’atar.

Za’atar can be found at any natural foods or gourmet grocery store in the states, and is a lovely Mediterranean blend of sesame seeds, sumac, salt, and a bevy of dried herbs- usually Thyme, Marjoram, and Oregano. I’ve heard so much about this spice blend in the last few years. Along with ramps and rhubarb, za’atar is a darling in the eyes of a food lover.

I’m dreaming of the day I can finally grill a whole fresh fresh fish when I am back in the States, in my non-existant grill I own, in the large suburban backyard that I don’t have. In my dream kitchen, I will drizzle the grilled fish with a generous amount of olive oil and a heaping dose of za’atar before perfectly blackening it on my grill. Until then, to fulfill these fantasies, I smuggled brought back a small packet of za’atar with me to China. I bought it without ever tasting it, but completely knowing what to do with it and knowing that I would love it.

So far it hasn’t disappointed me. It has made its way into a lot of my dishes these days- chicken drumsticks, omelets, even tofu. No fish though- I still don’t really trust the fish here.

Za’atar is also very fun to say, and difficult to keep typing correctly. Za’atar. Za’atar. Za’atar!!!

My favorite has been this combination of asparagus (chives) and za’atar. Which after a quick roast in the oven, subsequently get placed in a mean, green, summery salad. Yum.

You really should try it, too. I think you’d love it.

Roasted Asparagus with Za’atar

  1. Trim or shave the base of the asparagus. Line baking sheet with foil or nonstick mat. Sprinkle a generous amount (1-2 tsp.) of za’atar over asparagus and add a generous amount of olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Roast at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until asparagus are slightly darker and wilted.
  3. Serve as a side dish, or on top of a salad (with lots of feta cheese and mint!!)